How to get from Tulum to Cancun

Cancun is has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in the whole of Mexico, particularly amongst American tourists. Attracted by the clear-blue ocean and white-sand beaches, many see Cancun as the place to relax, especially in one of the luxury resorts.

This is what Cancun is known for; all-inclusive resorts, nightclubs, bars and too many restaurants to choose from!

Cancun is also the door to other popular sites in the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as the rest of Mexico due to its International Airport that’s well connected for both domestic and international flights.

There are 3 ways to travel the 131 km (81 miles) from Tulum to Cancun: a 2.5-hour bus ride, 3-hour colectivo ride via Playa del Carmen, or a 2.5-hour shared minivan. Fares range between 87 and 625 MXN ($4 – $29).

Regular bus, Microbus or Minivan?

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus2.5 hours From 200 MXN ($10)Check bus tickets
Colectivo via Playa del Carmen3.5 hours87 MXN ($4)Read article for info
Shared Minivan2.5 hoursFrom ($29)Check minivan tickets

Transport to Cancun airport

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus to Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 290 MXN ($14)Check bus tickets
Shared Minivan to Cancun Airport2.5 hoursFrom 675 MXN($32)Check minivan tickets
Private transfer to Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 1,500 MXN ($70)Book a Private Transfer

The bus is the best option for most people as they go directly from Tulum to Cancun with little hassle involved. They have more space than the Colectivo and enough room for your luggage. The only downside is that they are not as frequent.

The Colectivos via Playa del Carmen are the cheapest option out of the three, but you’ll have to change vehicles in Playa del Carmen, meaning some extra travel time. Also, as the Colectivos in the Mayan Rivera tend to cover short distances, they don’t have space for luggage. Therefore you’re travelling with big luggage, this isn’t a feasible option. The total journey will costs 87 MXN ($4) when you pay in the bus.

Note that BookAway sells tickets for the Colectivo for $6, names as “Economy Minivan”. Don’t confuse this with the Tourist Minivan. If you prefer stress-free travel then a shared minivan may be more your style. They offer door-to-door service with free pick-up and drop off from Tulum to Cancun, starting at 625 MXN ($29).

For those looking to travel from Tulum directly to Cancun Airport, there are options available that don’t require you to enter the city centre. You can find out more about this in the last section of this article.

 

Itinerary from Tulum to Cancun

 

Bus icon

Tulum to Cancun by Bus


Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: From 215 MXN ($11)

Tulum’s bus terminal is located in the centre of town. This makes it easily accessible by foot, or by taxi if you’re staying slightly further away within one of the beach areas.

A good average rate for a ride from the beach areas to the bus terminal is around 150 MXN ($7). However, keep in mind that taxis in Tulum are not metered and so it’s better to agree on the rate before getting in.

Step 1: Tulum to Cancun

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: From 200 MXN ($10)

The bus company going from Tulum to Cancun is ADO, which offers a great quality service. All buses are first class, meaning they include AC, a toilet and reclining seats.

You can book your tickets online or buy them directly from the bus terminal. When booking it’s important to pay attention to the departure and arrival points, as some buses depart from Tulum’s archaeological site instead of the city centre where you may be located.

Bus OperatorSchedulesDurationCostsSchedule
ADO Roughly every 2 hours from 09:25 to 21:55 3.5 hours220 MXN ($10)Check bus tickets on ClickBus

Check Bus Tickets with ClickBus

Step 2: Cancun Bus Terminal to City Centre

Duration: 5 – 15 minutes
Cost: 15 – 210 MXN ($0.70 – $10)

Cancun’s main bus terminal is conveniently located within the city centre, with many hotels and hostels located close by or just a few blocks away. This gives you the perfect opportunity to exercise your legs after the long bus journey.

However, if you are staying a bit further away, in the beach areas for example, you may have to take a taxi to get to your final destination. Taxis are available from outside of the bus terminal and are metered, so rates will depend on the distance and time.

An average ride to the beach area is around 210 MXN ($10).

Another option is to use public transport. Buses pass in front of the bus terminal on Avenida Tulum and lines R-1, R-3 and R-38 connect the bus terminal with the beach and hotel area. The rate for the buses is 15 MXN ($0.70) to be paid directly to the bus driver.

colectivo icon

Cancun to Tulum via Playa del Carmen by Colectivo


Duration: 3 hours
Cost: 87 MXN ($4)

Colectivos are the cheapest option to travel from Tulum to Cancun, but you’ll have to change to another Colectivo in Playa del Carmen to complete your journey to Tulum. See the stops below on how to take this journey.

The costs for both rides are only around 90 MXN ($4) and can be paid directly on the bus. Alternatively, you can also book the Economy Bus by Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas on BookAway for a slightly higher price ($6). This Colectivo is often also called “Colectivos Foraneos” (derived from the full name  Colectivos Foraneos Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas).

Extra note on the Colectivo’s running between Cancun-Playa del Carmen-Tulum

Colectivo’s running on the route from Cancun-Playa del Carmen-Tulum are originally not intended for tourists as they mainly transport locals and workers from the resorts and tourist attractions.

They have become popular among independent travellers and low-budget tourists because they stop everywhere so they allow people to visit multiple beaches, cenotes and ruins without paying for expensive tours.

This means the microbus will stop constantly, not just a couple of times and (at least on pre-covid times) the can get crowded with people standing. Also, as the Colectivos are predominantly used by local workers and not tourists, they don’t have space for luggage.

Also note that these microbuses are different from the Colectivos going from Cancun to Holbox or Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, for example. Those are intended for tourists and have a better level of comfort.

For the above reasons, we recommend to use the Colectivos in this region mainly for day trips to Tulum or if you’re only traveling with hand luggage only.

Step 1: Tulum to Playa del Carmen

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 42 MXN ($1.90)

Colectivos to Playa del Carmen depart from a stop located on the intersection of Chetumal and Calle Osiris Norte in the city centre. There are two companies operating this route: Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos. Each company has their own stop and buses run every 15 minutes or when the vehicle reaches capacity from both.

Playa Express operates from 04:00 to 23:00, while Colectivos Foraneos runs 24 hours. Keep in mind that Playa Express’ vehicles are more comfortable, with more space between seats and working AC, so this service should probably be your first choice.

The average rate to Playa del Carmen is 42 MXN ($1.90), but it can increase during peak tourist season. You can pay your ticket directly to the bus driver.

Step 2: Playa del Carmen to Cancun

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 45 MXN ($2)

When you arrive in Playa del Carmen, simply get off at the last stop. This is where you’ll also find the ‘colectivos’ to Cancun, which are operated by the same two companies and run every 15 minutes.

The 1.5-hour ride to Cancun is around 45 MXN ($2), but prices can increase during peak tourist seasons.

The Colectivo’ last stop is one block from the bus terminal in Cancun’s city centre. Unlike buses, you can get off before, if your accommodation is on the way.

minivan icon

Tulum to Cancun by Shared Minivan


Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
Cost: 625 MXN ($29)

If you want to avoid going to/from bus terminals, shared minivans conveniently take you from door-to-door. This service is offered by several companies and commonly booked online.

Although still more expensive than the bus, this shared minivan may still be a good option if you’re not close to the bus terminals and want to save some money on taxis. You can book this service via BookAway.

Shared minivans include hotel pickup and drop-off and cost 625 MXN ($29). They run every hour from 08:00 to 19:00. The travel time is variable as it depends on the number of passengers and additional stops on the way but is often between 2.5 to 3 hours.

*Note that BookAway also

Check Shared Minivan Tickets with BookAway

 

Travelling from Tulum to Cancun Airport

Duration: 2-2.5 hours
Cost: From 290 MXN ($14)

If you’re flying out of the Riviera Maya, you can travel directly from Tulum to Cancun International airport.

There are three ways to do this: by bus, shared minivan or with a private transfer. All three options have an average duration of 2 hours, but the bus may take an extra 15 minutes as it does make a short stop in Playa del Carmen.

When booking any of these services, remember to leave Tulum at least 6 hours before your flight to account for any traffic, roadworks or in the case of shared services, any issue with additional stops.

Compare transport options from Tulum to Cancun Airport

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus to Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 290 MXN ($14)Check bus tickets
Shared Minivan to Cancun Airport2.5 hoursFrom 675 MXN($32)Check minivan tickets
Private transfer to Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 1,500 MXN ($70)Book a Private Transfer

Bus from Tulum to Cancun Airport

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: From 290 MXN ($14)

Buses from Tulum to the airport are run by the company ADO and depart five times a day from 07:10 to 15:00 (roughly every 2 hours).

ADO buses leave from Tulum’s bus terminal in the centre of town. You can purchase your ticket directly at the bus terminal or book it online through Clickbus. The bus rate is 290 MXN ($14).

Shared minivan from Tulum to Cancun Airport

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: From 675 MXN ($33)

Shared minivans are an intermediate option between buses and private transfers. They depart every hour, 24 hours a day, from Tulum.

They will pick you up in your hotel and drop you at Cancun’s airport. Note that you may stop on the way to pick up other passengers. You can book this service on BookAway for 675 MXN ($32).

Private transfer from Tulum to Cancun Airport

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: From 1,500 MXN ($70)

Another good option is to hire a private transfer where your driver will pick you up from your accommodation and take you directly to the airport. This service is provided by several companies that allow you to book in advance online.

Two companies with the best reviews and cost/benefit ratio are eTransfers and Happy Shuttle Cancun with rates starting at $70 for a one-way trip.

 

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COVID-19 Limitations: Transportation services have limited availability and schedules might be less frequent. Please check our recommended booking websites for the most recent schedules.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to recent travel restrictions, most of the transportation services are currently unavailable or subject to change.